CLA260H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Carolingian Minuscule, Palaeography, Century Gothic

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Published on 11 Sep 2012
School
UTSG
Department
Classics
Course
CLA260H1
CLA260H1S
Paleography
July 16/12
Palais = old
Graphein = to write
Paleography = the study of old writing
It is the study of handwritten documents
Deciphering of ancient writing (manuscripts)
Can be used to date scripts
Essentially the study of handwriting
Can traced evolution of handwriting (both individual scribe and general)
Writing styles and letter forms change over time and this can be used to date
Writing forms vary in terms of what is being written down (e.g. receipts vs manuscripts)
Legibility also depends on what is written
Book hands = laid out in a straight line, legible, for reading
Cursive scripts = informal type of writing
Minuscule = lower case
Majuscule = upper case
As book hands developed minuscule became more popular because you can fit more on page
Uncial = rounded letters, gave way to use of minuscule
Half-uncial = some upper case, some lower case
Hands differ geographically
9th century development of Carolingian script
Under Charlemagne a unified script was developed for scholars - used from 9th - 13th century
One consequence was that he commissioned copies of old manuscripts and then threw out the old
copies
Eventually developed into Gothic (black letter) script
Gothic spread throughout Europe from 12th century - 17th century and continued in Germany to
20th century
21st century Gothic - modern calligraphy derived from gothic/black letter
Also study of abbreviations and short hands
Short hands - using symbol to replace word (i.e. & symbol)
Tironian notae - mid 1st century BC
Seneca collected various notae from his time
No ancient manuscripts that show tironian notae, but we do have later texts
Abbreviations - symbol that denotes some letters are missing
Often get contractions of words
Come from hebrew tradition where holy names would not be written out
E.g. Antrhopus = anons (with line over top)
Palimpsests = phenomena in manuscripts
Means “scraped off
In Rome people would write on wax tablets, scrap off wax to reuse
Get later texts written on old manuscript tablets
Accidental preservation
Usually religious texts (christian) written on top
Used to use acid to take off new layer
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Document Summary

9th century development of carolingian script: eventually developed into gothic (black letter) script, gothic spread throughout europe from 12th century - 17th century and continued in germany to copies. Short hands - using symbol to replace word (i. e. & symbol) Seneca collected various notae from his time: e. g. Stenna codicum = family tree of manuscripts: contamination can happen, copying from two manuscripts, someone later cam along and corrected one group of manuscripts, once you have stenna you can try and work backwards to omega text. Case study - the helen episode (alain: question of authenticity, wrongly though not written by virgil - ascribed to later scribe, called interpolation. Problems with poetic style, suspicious absence in authoritative textual witnesses: almost all modern commentators believe virgil would not have included it in his final draft - July 16/12 though died before he could finish the aenid: ancient sources pass over the helen episode.

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